The traditional approach to creating awareness and making people partake in conservation is a direct plea for people to change their ways and to start caring for nature.
Tenikwa Awareness and Rehabilitation Centre creates awareness by informing people of the threats that is affecting Southern Africa’s Wild Cats and some other species, in hope that in time people will renew their perspectives and start to do something for conservation. The main purpose of Awareness is the changing of people’s behaviour over the long term.
Traditionally conservation Awareness methods used consequence to tell people why they had to change e.g. the threat of global warming; the extinction of species etc.
Although important and with proven success, with the times that are changing the direct approach to creating awareness is becoming less effective. Awareness’s true aim does not reach people of all backgrounds. For people living in impoverished communities it is hard to grasp and think about the plight of nature, when they are struggling to get even the most basic needs like food and clean water for themselves. So directly telling them to change their ways to save some specie they may not even have been aware of and does not impact their day to day priorities, are not the most effective way to make them make an inconvenient change.
Another big factor that is affecting the traditional methods of awareness of conservation, is that people do not want to wait for their efforts to be rewarded, they want to see an immediate recompense and effect of their actions.
We live in an era of instant gratification promoted by the rapid development in technology and increase in the use of social media. The youth want to see things happening now or sooner… otherwise they move on to get results elsewhere.
The traditional approach to getting buy-in from the younger generation has to be adapted and new strategies used to make a change and to inspire people of all generations and backgrounds to partake in conservation. Pitching conservation change at the lower and middle income community has always been difficult and yet these are the children and young adults who will drive our future in South Africa.